Bill Rawles has been repairing, restoring and selling classic cars for over thirty years and has a particular affinity for Austin-Healey and historic motorsport. This led to Bill building his own race-ready Austin-Healey 3000 and using it to compete in historic races around the UK and Europe.
Having already run a successful business, Bill decided to retire in 2007. Retirement didn’t last long though and a new company was founded later that year which soon outgrew its original premises. Today race and rally preparation, event support and transportation sit alongside the restoration and repair business.
Bill’s son Jack has continued the family’s interest in historic motorsport having developed a reputation as a reliable driver in several disciplines. In fact Jack has achieved the fastest ever confirmed lap around Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands, driving an Austin-Healey 3000 prepared by Bill Rawles Classic Cars.
Classic Cars, Cakes & Coffee
The workshop is located in Medstead, a village near Alton, Hampshire. The local area boasts a range of tourist attractions including the Jane Austen’s House Museum and the Midhants Railway Watercress Line with steam trains passing by the workshop on a regular basis.
As a family-run business and being based in such a great location, Bill was keen to share his experience and give something back to the local community. This desire eventually became a monthly meet-up in the form of a coffee morning at their premises where car owners can bring along their classics, meet and chat with other owners and enjoy the refreshments on offer.
The first meet-up took place in 2012 and has continued every year since (except during lockdowns). The event has grown in popularity over the years and now attracts around 60 cars per meet and 60 to 100 people who get to enjoy the free bacon rolls, tea and coffee!
A Classic Day Out
There are six monthly meetings from April to September; usually on a Sunday between 10.00am and 2.00pm. Like any great event the Coffee Mornings have had many names over the years… Natters & Nibbles and Bill’s Sunday Morning Classic Cars Cakes & Coffee.
Cakes, pastries, tray bakes and other refreshments have been an important part of the coffee mornings from the beginning with visitors enjoying home-made Chocolate Brownies, Flapjacks, Rocky Road, Victoria Sandwich, Chocolate Cake and Lemon Drizzle Cake.
While the social aspect is an important part of the morning, visitors also have a chance to tour the workshop and get advice from the knowledgeable staff about any issues with their cars. Over the years the monthly events have raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities.
As Medstead was one of the first villages in the United Kingdom to get broadband it is fitting that Bill Rawles continues to support classic car owners and enthusiasts online through The Bill Rawles Classic Car Community, a group on Facebook.
Past online competitions have even included the chance to win some cakes!
Check out the Bill Rawles Classic Cars website for upcoming Classic Cars, Cakes and Coffee dates or to enquire about their services.
Photo Credits: All rights reserved. Images are copyright of Bill Rawles Classic Cars and must not be used in whole or part, without prior permission in writing from the company. Used with Permission.